The Priceless Gift of Stories
Children love stories. Most young children do not get tired of hearing the same story over and over again. They love make up stories, especially those related to their daily lives. Make up stories about Johnny or Nancy – not eating, not sharing, and needing to be courteous or kind – can be used to impart relevant and valuable lessons to children.
The Adronment of Love
Virtues are like an invisible adornment, a beautifully embroidered cloth that covers our shoulders, or a golden crown that surrounds our head. When we are getting ready every morning for the day ahead, we take a few minutes to meditate on the qualities we want to practice, and mindfully wrap our words and actions with our virtues. Similarly, at day’s end, we re-visit our deeds and the adornment, or lack thereof, with which we carried out our work.
What makes the world go round and round? How does a baby learn to walk? What makes the stars shine bright at night? Why is the color green not purple or blue or yellow?
So often, children are the ones who ask the questions that make us stop and think. They delight in discovering things for the first time, then sharing that joy of discovery with others. There are so many opportunities to speak with our children about what they encounter in their daily lives, and take them to a deeper level of appreciation for all that they find.
Speaking the Language of Virtues
Language has great power to shape character and culture. Our choice of words and the way we use them can motivate and empower our children or humiliate and demotivate them. Sometimes when parents get frustrated with a certain misbehaviour of a child and feel powerless to change it, they give a hurtful label to the child to force him to correct his ways.
The Language of Virtues developed by Linda and Dan Popov, described in the Family Virtues Guide, provides an effective and gentle alternative for family communication. Using this language has proven to result in strengthening the virtues in children and deepening the bonds of unity and understanding among family members.
Setting Clear Boundaries
In today’s fast paced and busy world, the parent and child relationship is constantly challenged by authority issues. Many parents feel hesitant about using authority and are fearful of “doing it wrong” and damaging the psyche of the child. Yet, a lack of clear family boundaries creates a climate of constant arguing and power struggles. What is a parent to do?